Facebook’s new search functionality

Facebook just announced a new search functionality.

From the Facebook blog about Facebook’s new search functionality from one of the Facebook engineers.

You now will be able to search the last 30 days of your News Feed for status updates, photos, links, videos and notes being shared by your friends and the Facebook Pages of which you’re a fan.

Facebook Blog Post about New Search Functionality

Facebook Blog Post about New Search Functionality

Is this Facebook’s attempt to catch up to Twitter’s current news and information search without the hashtags?   I guess this could be good to see what’s been discussed on facebook recently by your friends or it may be adding some functionality in that’s not much needed as opposed to other features that I could see as more useful.  So far I’m not impressed.

Here’s a simple search suggestion I just made to the people at Facebook that is not solved by their new search functionality –

How about being able to search your friend list by geography?

Let’s say I’m going to San Francisco in a month (which is true) and want to meet up with my friends who live there now.  I haven’t yet found a good way to find my San Francisco friends on Facebook.

  • When I click on Friends, I can see all of my friends. Right now I can filter by network.  This is a pretty useless because not everyone tags themselves by every network with which they are affiliated.  Or I can filter by group.  This is also pretty useless unless I have categorized my friends in a group called San Francisco.  I would more likely group friends based on their relation to me – colleagues, family, college friends, high school friends, etc. if I grouped them at all.  Not useful for my problem.
  • With the new search functionality just announced, if I search for “San Francisco”, I get a ton of results with San Francisco – places, fan pages, groups, and people in San Francisco.  Next, I have to click on results only related to People.  Then, I have to filter by geography by inputting San Francisco, CA in the geography filter box.  But there are still way more results than just the people I know.  (I don’t plan to contact strangers, just want to catch up with some folks).  It looks like the first results are friends, but that’s a bit clunky considering the search results go on for pages and pages.  There’s no way to filter by just my friends.

If anyone knows how to do this easily, please let me know!  I don’t think I’m the only one interested in solving this problem.

Here are my two simple recommendations for Facebook to solve this problem –

  • When I click on Friends, give me a geography filter
  • When I use the new search page, let me filter by my friends

How about letting me search my friends for their stated interests?

For example: friends interested in classical music, so that when I want to invite someone to a Festival Chamber Music concert, I know who are my low hanging fruit?  My Facebook community is a group of some tight and many loose connections, based on different periods of my life.  And I don’t think I’m the only one in this boat, considering Facebook is so good at suggesting friends based on my already made connections.  I suppose searching through the last 30 days of discussion on status updates could help me find some of these friends, but 30 days is limited and most people don’t announce in their status “going to a classical music concert,” they would more likely say “at Lincoln Center” or “seeing Femi Kuti at Celebrate Brooklyn”  This would be hard to search, considering how many venues and artists there are.  Searching byFacebook Pages could help, but what if my friends aren’t tagged as fans?

I know Facebook tested search on a small group of users before they rolled it out to everyone, but I wonder if they thought of real-life situations based on one of the most important reasons for why I believe people use Facebook – connecting with people they know online and offline.

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